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Audi showcases piloted driving sedan prototype

09 Jan 2015  | Christoph Hammerschmidt

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As to the connectivity, Audi shows a module that connects the vehicle with the internet via the LTE mobile radio infrastructure. Inside the vehicle this module appears to its passengers as a WiFi hotspot, offering connectivity services to the passenger's smartphones and tablets as well as to the vehicle's online and infotainment services. The system also automatically updates the navigational map.

In-car WiFi hub

In-car WiFi hub connects to smartphone; to the outside world it communicates via LTE

In the dashboard, Audi long-term partner Nvidia plays a key role with its T30 quad-core processor that powers the virtual tachometer: It computes the image of the RPM needle 60 times per second, enough to make it appear smoothly and without jolts. At the same time, the processor powers the central navigation display with 3D map and other details.

Virtual dashboard

Virtual dashboard instruments, powered by Nvidia

An important building block in Audi's hardware strategy is the Progressive Semiconductor Program (PSCP) set up in 2010. Under the programme, Audi directly involves not just its system suppliers but also semiconductor makers. It is a key factor for future innovations. As in hardware, so Audi develops solutions of its own in software a task falling mainly to its subsidiary GmbH.

In vehicle electrics, Audi has developed a scalable architecture, the 48V onboard partial network. It will soon complement conventional 12V power network and permit deployment of a new generation of high-power electric components. These will include an electric compressor as a supplementary turbocharger or an extra-strong generator capable of recuperating a higher amount of kinetic energy and, when used as a motor, transforming the car's powertrain into a mild hybrid.

Though piloted driving (Audi speak for automated driving) has been discussed over the past months as a feature for next decade vehicles, it actually might be closer than it appears. At the fair, the carmaker announced to make these technologies available to buyers already in this decade.

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